Every year there’s one social network in particular making an awful lot of noise in the world of marketing. More times than not, it’s the ‘newbie’ – it was Pinterest when Pinterest was launched, Periscope when it was the flavour of the month and now it’s Snapchat.
The thing is that Snapchat isn’t new – it’s been around quite a while. But for some reason it’s only beginning to make real noise in terms of marketing now. Before that it was mainly the younger demographic that was using it.
Things have changed. Browse Twitter and/or Facebook and you’ll see more and more brands have their ‘Snapcode’ (more about that later) as their profile pictures.
So… what is Snapchat?
Snapchat does what it says on the tin – it’s chatting via ‘snaps’ (photos). What makes it unique though is that the content (photos or videos) disappears shortly after sharing it. If you’re sharing a ‘snap’ directly with one other person you choose how long does it last before it disappears off the face of the earth. If you’re sharing a snap to your ‘story’ it’s a public piece of content that will stay there for 24 hours.
What type is content is shared?
Accounts share photos or video. The ‘charm’ with the content though, is that it’s unpolished. Snapchat’s USP (Unique Selling Point) is that this is real-time content. Here you won’t find breathtaking sunsets filtered to the max making colours seem punchier than they are. You also won’t find two month old posts pinned to the top of your page. This is real-time content consumed in (almost) real-time.
Is it simply videos and photos?
Not exactly. You can add filters to your photos a la Instagram or you can speed up your videos to make you sound like you’ve inhaled a balloon of helium after consuming a pile of steroids. The filters don’t simply change the colour of the shot – you can add the location via a graphic to your photos. You can also add masks to yourself in the video. These change with each update and are, in a word, silly.
How do you grow a following?
This is the tricky part – you can’t log on to the page of somebody your following, see who they’re following and then follow a bunch of people the way you can with Instagram or Twitter. Instead you need to use a mix of the following tactics:
- Promote your Snapchat username on your various social channels
- Promote your username on your website
- Share your ‘Snapcode’ on social channels (that yellow icon you’re seeing a lot of that doubles as a QR code)
- It’s a bit of a cliché… but share engaging content!
What should be my strategy if I’m going to use it?
Like with all social networks, you should try to add value to in what you say. Don’t share something for the sake of sharing something. Think to yourself "will this piece of content add value to my followers’ social media experience?" If it won’t, don’t share it.
At the same time, don’t share content you’d share on other social channels. Take advantage of it as a social network with a difference.
Why is it important to the travel industry?
Snapchat is a very relevant channel for people in the travel industry because of one word – fun. Here you don’t need to worry about crafting the perfect 140 characters on Twitter or sharing the most engaging images possible on either Facebook or Instagram. Here you just need to have fun. And isn’t that what the travel industry is (mostly) about?
Do you see Snapchat as an important part of your marketing strategy?
Would you like to learn more about TrekkSoft? It was created for tour and activity operators like you.
Written by Colm Hanratty
Colm is Founder and Managing Director of digital marketing agency Sixtwo Digital. After running Hostelworld.com’s content and social media for almost 11 years he felt it was time to branch out on his own, using all his experience to educate others in the travel space.